In Wichita, “A Way Out” of Opioid Addiction?


New program looks to help addicts find help – by calling police

As opioid addicts move from prescription pills into illegal street heroin, they are very unlikely to contact police unless someone has overdosed.

Now, as reported by, police in Wichita are looking to implement a unique program called “A Way Out” that sends addicts directly to rehab instead of directly to jail.

heriff Jeff Easter says he heard about the plan called “A Way Out” when attending a meeting several months ago on the opioid epidemic.

It’s in motion in a suburb outside Chicago and he says so far, it’s showing positive results.

Dialing 911 is a call that can change an opioid addict’s life in Lake County, Illinois.

“If they had the narcotic on them, it was pretty much a free pass, they would not charge them with that particular crime,” said Sheriff Jeff Easter, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

“When that’s recognized, they’re cut off the pain medications, now they’re turning to heroin and we’re seeing a lot more overdoses,” said Easter.

Easter says the program could possibly help free up jail space because people arrested for property crimes, are often addicted to substances.

“Putting them in jail, which most won’t get prison time so they’re right back out, hasn’t been the solution for several years,” said Easter.

Easter hopes “A Way Out” could be a change that stops the revolving door for many addicts and a long-term plan to stop the opioid epidemic from coming here.

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